World Cup Soccer: Brazil vs. Netherlands

There is no soccer viewing experience anywhere in Seattle that compares to the scene at Tempero do Brasil, a gem of a restaurant in the U District, at the north end of the Ave. With a yellow coat of paint, the place went from Italian to Brazilian a decade ago and has hosted raucous fans for three World Cups—but none like the current edition, which is on the verge of becoming the South American Invitational. A Brazil-Argentina final is a real possibility. But first, the five-time champions have to get past the Netherlands, undefeated in 23 matches dating back to 2008, this morning in the first of two marquee quarterfinal matches. (Argentina-Germany tomorrow is the other.) Watching Brazil play here, especially with so much at stake, is a wholly participatory experience. Don't count on hearing the play-by-play; the music will drown it out. Drums, horns, shakers, whistles, and bells keep a constant rhythm, and sambas erupt spontaneously. It's a joyous celebration of sport and community—not just people sharing a love of soccer or even Brazilian culture, but of life. And when your team is this good, you can concentrate on the party. The menu, from the eastern coastal state of Bahia, is simple and hearty—comfort food with a spicy kick. To drink? There's Xingu, the distinctive dark lager from the Amazon rainforest, and Brazil's national cocktail, the deceptively potent caipirinha. It’s what a mojito wants to be when it grows up, with cachaca (fermented, distilled sugarcane juice) subbing for rum and nary a mint leaf to be found. They go down easy—one is not enough; three may be too many. You've been warned. (Also see our ever-expanding list of worthwhile soccer bars all during the Cup.) MICHAEL MAHONEY

Fri., July 2, 7 a.m., 2010

 
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